What is truth?

Posts tagged ‘Sisters of Mercy’

abused over decades


A national memorial will be erected in Ireland for tens of thousands of children who were abused over decades in church-run institutions. So it was claimed to-day .Children’s Minister Barry Andrews said a national day of remembrance for survivors and those who died at the hands of sexual, emotional and physical torture is also being considered.

Mr Andrews insisted the Cabinet has rubber-stamped the 25 million euro (£21.5 million) plan to deal with what he branded a dark passage of Irish history.

Dark is not the word I would use here it is shameful, and what about naming the Minsters who were responsible for allowing these crimes to continue for years

Why are these people not brought before the courts of the land?

They are still enjoying massive pensions when the victims are subject to levies and dole cuts

It’s not enough to say we will do something

Action speaks louder than words, we’ve had enough of false promises!

Message from Joan Burton TD.


Just to let you know, that the Labour Party Private Members Bill in respect of redress has now been entered by the Labour Party as a Private Members Bill and has been accepted as such by Government. Obviously Government has not allocated any time to it.

However, we have decided to allocate next weeks, Tuesday and Wednesday 7 to 8.30 each evening, of our last Private Members Time, our last Private Members Time before the summer recess, to debating our redress Bill.

In that context I would be grateful if you would let people you know, with an interest in the issue, know and also if they wish to come and hear some or all of the debate they will be very welcome.

They can either arrange to come and view the debate through my office or any other Labour Party TD or through Cathy Flanagan who will arrange for them to be admitted to the public gallery.

I hope that this will raise the profile of the various issues which the Bill seeks to redress.

I attach a summary of the Bill for your information.

Best regards

Joan Burton TD.

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

Sister Stanislaus Kennedy

Taken from www.alliancesupport.org

Sister Stanislaus Kennedy has apologised unreservedly to survivors of child abuse in Catholic-run institutions.

Sr Stan said the Sisters of Charity were sad, sorry and ashamed that children suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse while under their care.

She also said that the order must now live up to its financial responsibilities.

 Sr Stan is a prominent campaigner for homeless people.

The order is holding a conference on social justice in Dublin today.

The Ryan report into institutional child abuse the economic downturn will be discussed at the conference.

Sr Miriam Hennessey of the Sisters of Charity told the conference that the findings of the report were ‘overwhelming and disturbing’ for all her nuns.

On behalf of the congregation, she apologised again to all past pupils for what took place in the institutions under the congregation’s care.

President Mary McAleese has described the institutional abuse of children as ‘a milestone of biblical proportions in Irish history’.

Addressing a conference organised, she said the abuse of some of the children in the nuns’ care was a sad chapter in their history, which calls for resilience, determination, humility and focus in the journey of amending and healing that lies ahead.

Comment from Machholz

While this apology is very welcome the fact is that the survivors of this injustice are

Still having to fight to get justice

They should not have to beg for help. A well thought out plan of action, that will meet the current needs of the survivors is desperately needed now!

The various groups that have sprung up all over the country are at best well meaning individuals but they do not have the necessary skills to meet with the challenges that have yet to be faced up to in the future

We are dealing, it must be remembered with well established organisations that have enormous resources, and can protect themselves very well indeed

we need to be equally competent with our dealings with these organisations if we are going to succeed in bringing this very sad chapter of Irish history to a close.

reply from MaryA.White

MaryA.White@oireachtas.ie to me


Dear Thomas,

Many thanks for your email. The debate was a very important debate for Dáil Eireann and it was good to see so many deputies took part in the debate.

You are right that it is essential that the State continues to support and encourage victims of abuse in whatever way it can for the remainder of the victims’ lives, and also that the recommendations of the Ryan Report are implemented in full and as soon as possible. I called on the Government to declare a national day of remembrance for all victims of abuse and I hope this is taken up by it in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Mary White

Mary White T.D.

Green Party Deputy Leader


Leinster House

Kildare Street

Dublin 2

Alliance Victim Support



On my recent attendance of the march to the Dail with fellow victims of Institutional abuse

I came across this victim support group

Check them out   at  www.alliancesupport.org

Tom Hayes is the contact name


Re:The Institutional Child Abuse Bill

Statement by Ruairi Quinn TD

Spokesperson on Education and Science

The Institutional Child Abuse Bill we are launching today is part, but only a part, of an attempt to acknowledge the failure of the State and of religious congregations to protect children from abuse, the pain and suffering they endured and that the Ryan Report vindicates their claims of abusive crimes committed against them by members of religious congregations and others while they were ostensibly in State care or under State supervision.

It goes without saying that the Bill is not of itself a full or satisfactory response. It should also be acknowledged that nothing we can do would undo the damage done to so many children in institutions or adequately compensate them for the physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect and wanton cruelty recorded by the Ryan Report in 216 schools and institutions.

However, in the Bill we are trying to deal with a number of specific issues of serious concern to the survivors of abuse that have been raised with Labour Party TDs by individual constituents or publicly by representative groups.

The publication of the Ryan Report shocked Irish society to its core and created a new understanding understand that the abuses carried out in these institutions have left a enduring legacy of pain and suffering. There is now a groundswell of public goodwill towards those who suffered abuse and a desire to see their outstanding grievances addressed.

The proposals in the Bill are set out in easily understandable form in the ‘Principal Features’ document included in your press pack, but I would like to refer to a few of them.

One of the principal complaints we have received is that some people for very legitimate reasons missed out on the deadline for applications to the Redress Board. This issue has particularly been raised with us by groups in Britain who represent people who simply did not know about the existence of the Redress Board or who were simply too ill or traumatised to be able to apply. Others were excluded because they were abused in an institution which was not listed in the Schedule to the Redress Act. Others lost out because, although they were underage under the law as it stood at the time they were in institutions, they would not be considered to be underage in modern law.

Our Bill seeks to correct all these defects. It also deals with concerns of abuse survivors that, in some way, they have a criminal record by virtue of having been committed to one of these Institutions. The Bill proposes that those persons must be treated for all purposes in law as persons who have not committed or been charged with or prosecuted for or convicted of or sentenced for any offence. Their records will, in other words, be wiped clean.

The Bill proposes the deletion of section 28 (6) of the Redress Act which prohibits an applicant to the Board from publishing any information concerning their application to or their award by the Redress Board, if it refers to any other person or institution by name or could reasonably lead to the identification of another person or an institution. This effectively prohibited applicants from recounting the stories of their childhood.

There have also been reports that both the Redress Board and the Child Abuse Commission may be considering the destruction of documents they hold relating to the testimony or witnesses or other papers. To destroy these documents would add insult to injury for those who suffered abuse.

The Bill insists therefore that, when it comes to making a order for the dissolution of the Board or the Commission, the Minister must include in the order his or her proposals for the maintenance of these records and to provide access to them “as a consistent reminder of the damage done to children whose upbringing, care and welfare was consigned to the State”.

This is a serious effort by the Labour Party to address matters of concern that have been raised with us. We don’t claim any monopoly on wisdom in this area and we would be happy to hear suggestions as to how the Bill might be improved or strengthened. Of course as an opposition party we have only very limited Private Members Time. We would be very happy for the government to take over the Bill and to have in enacted in government time. This would be the speediest and most effective way to proceed.

This statement is very welcome but I come back to the question of a way forward now for the victims of these Institutions

See my letter to Deputy Joe Costello



Deputy Joe Costello

Deputy Joe Costello

Speaking on the Adjournment Motion in Dáil Éireann Deputy Joe Costello said that the Department of Education and Science should open a Book of Condolences for the victims of child abuse.

Virtually all the children in the Reformatories, Industrial Schools and Marlborough House were of school going age. The Department of Education had a statutory responsibility to fund, inspect and supervise the welfare and the education of those children while they remained in these institutions up to the age of sixteen.

Quite clearly they were negligent and failed to do so as the needs of the institutions were put before the needs of the children.

Consequently the educational provision and the educational attainment of the children in the words of the Ryan Report were deplorable. Indeed, the Department of Education was for decades a major obstacle to children and their parents obtaining any redress or satisfaction when they made complaints in relation to the treatment experienced by the children in the institutions under the supervision of the Department of Education.

I believe that the Department of Education which has failed the children entrusted to their care should now as a State institution in its own right make a symbolic statement of apology and atonement by opening a Book of Condolences in its main office in Marlborough Street in Dublin 1.

Dear Mr. Costello,

As a survivor of the institutional abuse by the Christian Brothers in St Josephs school in Tralee and as the Last registered inmate to Artian Industrial school I call upon you to support me and all others who wish now to obtain the education that was deprived of us in our youth .

As a 53 year old now I have No hope of obtaining any employment without any formal educational qualifications.

It makes no sense for me to do a Fas Course and then end up back on the dole

Many others want to go back to full time education (as mature students) and I believe that the State should now support this without any means testing


Tommy Broughan T.D.

Dear Thomas,

Thanks again for your email and comments on the Ryan Report and its implications for the Irish State today.

The Labour Party is to publish a Bill today the Institutional Child Abuse Bill, to deal with a number of issues of concern to victims of abuse in religious run institutions. Please be assured that the Labour Party will continue to do everything possible both inside and outside Dail Eireann to address all of the very important issues that you raised in your email.

Please keep in touch,

Very Best Wishes,

Tommy Broughan T.D.

Thank you again

Thomas Clarke


ruairi.quinn to me

Dear Thomas,

Thank you for your email. I enclose my latest press release on this subject, in light of the important speech made by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin last night.

Yours sincerely,

Ruairi Quinn TD

Labour Party Spokesperson for Education and Science

Leinster House


Labour Party Spokesperson on Education

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


The Labour Party welcomes the recent comments made by Dr Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, about the need to review the role and the size of the Catholic Church in controlling 93% of the primary schools in the country. As he has indicated, that legacy of history no longer meets the reality of modern Ireland. Nor does it allow the Catholic Church to genuinely develop its own role as one of six patron groups in the country. The others are the Protestant Churches, the Muslim Community, the Gaelscoileanna Movement, Educate Together and recently the VEC sector.

Article 42 of the Republic’s Constitution recognises the primary role of parents in the education of their children. Access to a school with an ethos of the parent’s choice should be provided, where practical and feasible.

The Taoiseach and Minister for Education should take up the Archbishop’s suggestion of the establishment of a ‘National Forum on Education’ to explore the many issues that have to be resolved.

Labour has already called for the 18 Religious Orders, cited in the Ryan Report, to hand- over the legal ownership of the buildings and lands of their primary schools, with the assurance that those schools would continue to operate under their present Patronage arrangements. This measure would secure for the community that the school infrastructure would not be subject to an arbitrary selling off in order to raise funds. In addition, it would meet, in part, one of the unanimous demands of all parties in the Dáil. This was that the Religious Orders increase the contribution which they have already made to the overall costs of the Redress Board.

Archbishop Martin has previously indicated that he thinks that his archdiocese should cease to manage all of the 477 primary schools under his patronage. These schools are staffed by 8,298 teachers and cater for 127,814 pupils. Under his suggestion many of these schools could have, subject to his agreement, new Patrons, such as Educate Together, the Gaelscoileanna and perhaps the VECs. The remaining Catholic schools could enhance their own ethos with the involvement of committed practicising Catholic parents and their children.

There are complex issues to be discussed and resolved. Labour recognises that complexity and fully supports the Archbishop’s proposal. Labour is committed to the establishment of a genuine pluralism in our school system that would enable parents to make the choice they want for their children in so far as that is possible.

We call upon the Fianna Fail/Green government to show courage and leadership by establishing the Education Forum without delay.


Dear Mr R Quinn

Thank you for keeping me and my readers up to date on the latest developments

Your efforts are deeply appreciated

Thomas  Clarke

Tom Hayes replies

Re: Dail’s recent debate on child abuse

Dear Thomas,


Thank you for your email in relation to the Ryan Report debate in the Dáil last week. I know that people feel very strongly about the issues outlined in the Ryan Report, and I appreciate you taking the time to express your feelings about it.

The debate took place last Thursday and Friday. I have attached a copy of Enda Kenny’s speech, which he made last week (you may have read it already). He speaks about what we have learned from this awful discovery about the treatment of children since this first came to light and highlights the steps which desperately need to be taken to protect child safety. The horror of what so many children endured must not be forgotten and the recommendations of the Ryan report, the Monageer Enquiry report, as well as the recommendations of the other child protection bodies must be implemented without delay.

Again, I appreciate you getting in touch and please feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance.

Tom Hayes

T.D. for Tipperary South

Thank You again T.Clarke

Speech by Enda Kenny on the Ryan Report

The Report of the Ryan Commission shames us. It shames us as a State and as a Society.

Down all the decades, we repeated that mantra about cherishing all the children equally – and, at the same time, we now know, the State ignored the neglect and abuse of the most vulnerable of our children.

This was not cherishing the children. This was not Christian compassion. This was a failure to care. We stand complicit in the criminalising of little children as a consequence of their poverty. But that’s just the beginning. This State was responsible for the destruction of life itself. It was responsible for the destruction of that precious, formative gift: childhood.

We are, as a country haunted by the Great Famine. We wonder at the inhumanity shown to the starving, a century and a half ago.

We should all be haunted by what Ryan has found out. Because he has revealed a Great Famine of compassion. A plague of deliberate, relentless cruelty. We stand shamed – and we must not excuse ourselves of that shame. Burke said that all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to stay silent.

The reality is that generation after generation of good Irish people knew enough about these institutions to raise questions, to make themselves unpopular – and to rescue children. But our society stayed silent.

Therein lies a crucial lesson.

• None of us can ever outsource human concern.

• None of us can ever ignore evidence of societal failure.

• None of us can ever hand over our responsibility for the unprotected to some State agency or religious congregation and wash our hands.

And that applies, particularly, to politicians. On every side of this House, we must remember that we are the voice of the voiceless. We must relentlessly question. We must have a passion for justice and a bottomless well of anger against injustice.

Above all, we must listen. It should not have taken television producers and a State enquiry to give the victims of institutional abuse permission to tell their stories and be heard. Each and every story – told and heard only now, decades after the horror – fills us with shame.

Like the incident where a Br Percival ordered a boy out of his class for talking. A little boy wearing callipers on his legs. A little boy who tried to obey the brother’s orders and was fisted in the face as he stumbled to his feet.

And when the child fell, did the man, committed to a religious life, repent his actions and help him? No. Instead, we’re told, he jumped on him ‘like he was a bag of potatoes.’

But it wasn’t all violence. Sometimes, it was psychological torture. A boy in Letterfrack had his head shaved and was ‘sent to Coventry’ for a period that was to end when his hair grew back. A child was isolated from his friends, his companions, the only human contacts he could trust, and that lasted until his hair grew. The simplicity of his account of waiting to be let back into the human race is heartbreaking.

‘I don’t know how long it was,’ he recalls. “But it felt like an awful long time.’

I’m sure it did. I’m sure it did. As a teacher, and as a parent, I know – as do most members of this House – that children have an unformed notion of time. Any postponement is painful. Tomorrow seems forever away.

The brother who shaved this child’s head and isolated him until the hair was long enough to “justify” returning to his group had a sophisticated understanding of how to deprive and damage, how to diminish and degrade. Another witness told the story of a brother who thought he was being laughed at and who threw the child around the classroom.

“I hit desks, I hit the floor,” he remembers.

He remembers, too, that the commotion of boys screaming brought another brother into the room. The other brother pulled the violent man off the child, who, at that point, was unconscious from the beating he had received. To this day, that abused child, now grown, believes he would have died at the hands of a religious had the second man not intervened.

Let me read the words of his account into the record.

“I know to God that if it hadn’t been for him coming in, I do not think I would be here today, in all honesty…When you seen this man when he lost his temper he was like a wolf. His jaws literally went out and he bared his teeth and he just lashed at me. I was running trying to get away from him. He hit me, it didn’t matter where, legs, back, head, anywhere. During that I must have passed out because when I came around there was water running on my head and … I thought I was drowning. I drew back and I cracked my head on the nozzle of the tap so I had blood coming down, I had tears, I was soaking wet. He wasn’t finished then. He threw me on the ground and he said ‘you’ll walk that floor for the rest of the night.” The watchman didn’t come that night. Nobody came and I walked that passage until 6.30 the next morning. I was so terrified of going to bed that he might come back and beat me again. I walked the whole night without sleep, I swear to God…”

Imagine it. Just imagine it.

A bruised and bloodied child – not convicted of anything, mark you, just suspected of – God help him – laughter. A bruised and bloodied hungry child, cold from the water used to restore him to consciousness. A bruised and bloodied child walking a corridor in the dark hours of the night, never ceasing to move, filled with fear…

Some of us, growing up, read Charles Kingsley’s accounts of what the Victorians did to the poorest of their children. Some of us read the Bronte’s accounts of what their powers-that-be did to orphans. We were horrified. It gave us bad dreams. But it was fiction. That was the great thing. It was fiction. It hadn’t happened. Not really. And certainly not in Ireland.

Now, we know different.

Now, we know, courtesy of the Ryan Commission, that, within living memory and within our own country, we visited comparable horrors on our children. Let us not hide behind euphemisms. This was not just “failure to protect.” This was torture, pure and simple.

The State and the religious congregations must make atonement for the crimes they committed, and the 2002 deal – as we now know – doesn’t come near to what is required.

This is about money – but it’s about a lot more than money. Ireland has become a world black spot for decades of institutional and State child abuse.

Ireland must become a world leader in reconciliation and reparation. We must seek world experts in helping adult victims of child abuse to achieve wholeness. We must set up a body, independent of Church and of Government, which will work with support organisations and individuals to develop the best response to this tragedy.

There is no solution.

That’s sadly clear. But that does not absolve us. There must be a response that draws together all the generosity, sensitivity and compassion that should have been shown to survivors when they were children.

Then, we must move on to abolish the culture of secrecy and denial still to be found in some aspects of childcare services. That culture means that some reports on child welfare – who are citizens of this State and entitled to the protection of this State as much as anyone else – have not yet been published. The culture of secrecy must end – and the Monageer report is the latest example.

The solemn commitments that we make in this regard should be clear and unambiguous. By our actions we will be judged. So we must:
• Implement in full the recommendations of the Ryan Report
• Implement in full the recommendations of the National review of the compliance with children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of children (2008)
• Implement the published recommendations of the Monageer Enquiry report and to make arrangements necessary to publish the redacted recommendations.
• Implement the report of the Joint Committee on Child Protection (November 2006)
• Implement the First Interim Report of the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children and prioritise the publication of legislation to give legal authority for the collection and exchange of information concerning the risk or the occurrence of endangerment, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse of children.

We must seek to lead Europe in child care and prevention of child trafficking.

The corpus of legislation passed during any Dáil term is an aspect of national record-keeping. It is part of the first draft of history.

But the stories told in passion and pain by individuals — that’s ultimately what matters.

Media is frequently criticised by politicians on all sides. But in this instance, we must register the pivotal role played by media in allowing survivors’ stories to be told – and heard. Television, radio and print media did the State – and the survivors – some service.

We cannot re-write those stories.

Nor can we write a happy ending to them.

But it is our clear and inescapable duty to reach out and rescue, to listen and to learn and to create something out of this catalogue of cruelty in which, as a nation, we can take some pride.

Tag Cloud